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TONI FRISSELL (1907-1988)


Toni Frissell was born in New York City.  After a brief apprenticeship under Cecil Beaton and with the encouragement of fashion editor Carmel Snow, Frissell was hired as a fashion photographer for VOGUE and Harper’s Bazaar in 1931.  Her work was known for its images of active, athletic female models often posed in outdoor settings.

She followed her career in fashion by volunteering her services to the American Red Cross and later became the official photographer of the Women's Army Reserve, where her moving photographs were used to encourage public support for women and African Americans in the military.  Frissell was particularly known for her informal portraits of famous subjects such as Winston Churchill, Jackie Kennedy, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  In addition to her work for magazines such as LIFE, Frissell became the first female staff photographer for Sports Illustrated magazine in 1953 and she remained one of the few female sports photographers for several decades.

Frissell died in 1988.  The majority of her archives (including over 250,000 negatives and 25,000 prints) are included in the collection of the Library of Congress.

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